I’m staring at my external hard drive.
It’s cold, silver and seemingly lifeless, with the exception of an occasional blip of a green light, telling me that it’s still doing its job of storing information.
Good thing, since I feel like my brain is on overload right about now.
I’m not delirious, at least I don’t think. I’ve been fighting a sinus infection for the last four days, and I think the antibiotic is messing with my head. Maybe it’s nerves. Either way, the hard drive is capturing WAY too much of my attention.
It’s the day before the day before the NWTF National Convention officially starts, but I’m already at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center. My butt is planted on the (quite comfy) sea foam green couch in the production suite, sifting through agendas, scripts, videos, graphics and PowerPoint presentations.
Months of work done by no fewer than two dozen people sits on an external drive that’s about the size of three packs of Trident gum stacked side by side. I hold it in my hands like Gollum grasping the ring, afraid to give up control of the gigabytes of information nestled in the belly of my silver … square … PRECIOUS sidekick.
I slowly, cautiously let go of each file, into the hands of a more-than-capable production crew. I trust them. We were a great team last year, and no doubt this year will be just as great, even better! My anxiety comes from the fear that I’m not prepared, though I’ve done my best to be.
If you’re coming to Nashville this year and attend any of the evening functions or breakfasts, you’ll see the cumulative efforts of what goes into producing live shows. It starts with ideas from NWTF staff members. Then makes its way to the NWTF communications department where it becomes scripts, videos and background images. I collect all the elements and provide a sort of map or schedule, putting them all together in a somewhat cohesive manner.
By the sound of it, I’m not much more than an information courier, when in fact it’s a large load to bear. Every brain cell is wrapped around some detail of the next several days.
And now the day has come to pass it off to the people who give it life in video and sound, from camera operators and teleprompter operators to sound technicians and stage managers. The NWTF brings in professionals from across the country to make each show worth the price of admission.
You rarely see the production team, but that’s the point. They’re the backstage genies who made our onstage wishes a reality.
In the next few days, I will morph into a member of the production crew, not fully sure of my role, other than to be the detail Sherpa. I know that it’s Mitchell Johnston, spelled with a T, and not Johnson. That MidwayUSA is not supposed to have a space between the Y and the U. That Ashton Shepard is playing two songs per entertainment break. It’s not Bakersville, but Bakersfield, Ca.
Perhaps each of those details seem minute when standing alone, but, to me, each one is a very important detail that makes up the NWTF. And when there’s like a bazillion of them to keep up with, I start to feel pretty darn useful.
But nothing beats when those details come together in a fun night for our volunteers. I can’t help but feel proud to be part of the team that made it happen.